“This book underscores what we have long known—Gurganus stands among the best writers of our time.” —Ann Patchett
Wells Tower says of Gurganus, "No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other." Such ties of love produce hilarious, if wrenching, complications: "Fear Not" gives us a banker's daughter seeking the child she was forced to surrender when barely fifteen, only to find an adult rescuer she might have invented. In "Saints Have Mothers," a beloved high school valedictorian disappears during a trip to Africa, granting her ambitious mother a postponed fame that turns against her. And in a dramatic "Decoy," the doctor-patient friendship between two married men breaks toward desire just as a biblical flood shatters their neighborhood and rearranges their fates.
Gurganus finds fresh pathos in ancient tensions: between marriage and Eros, parenthood and personal fulfillment. He writes about erotic hunger and social embarrassment with Twain's knife-edged glee. By loving Falls, Gurganus dramatizes the passing of Hawthorne’s small-town nation into those Twitter-nourished lives we now expect and relish.
Four decades ago, John Cheever pronounced Allan Gurganus "the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation." Local Souls confirms Cheever’s prescient faith. It deepens the luster of Gurganus’s reputation for compassion and laughter. His black comedy leaves us with lasting affection for his characters and the aching aftermath of human consequences. Here is a universal work about a village.
About Allan GurganusSee more books from this Author
Mr. Gurganus is a serious and important American writer — his work has meant a lot to me over time — and with “Decoy” it’s good to have him back after a long absence. But the first two novellas in “Local Souls” remind me of the character in one of them who lives on a cul-de-sac.Read Full Review of Local Souls | See more reviews from NY Times
...Local Souls takes the form of several novellas bound together by a shared setting in Falls, North Carolina...It takes a while to attune your ear to Gurganus's pared-down prose, and until you do it can seem oddly unlubricated, sticking then surging by turns, with its quirky lack of definite articles. But, once in step, the pleasure is great...Read Full Review of Local Souls | See more reviews from Guardian
Between the jaunty prose, the colorful town and the rampant overachieving, a few patches get a little “Gilmore Girls.” Not that we don’t love hanging with Lorelei and Rory. Just not when the themes are this brave and the best prose is this dazzling.Read Full Review of Local Souls | See more reviews from Star Tribune
In this book, too many of the author’s creations seem to have been set up so they could be knocked down. Of one nouveau riche newcomer to Falls, he writes, “He had the absolute standards of the absolutely powerless. But how he enjoyed them.”Read Full Review of Local Souls | See more reviews from Washington Times
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